I was having a certain kind of day and planning a certain kind of blog, when an unexpected email dropped into my inbox. OK, I say unexpected, but it was an editorial response to a full manuscript I'd submitted, so I suppose I was expecting it at some point.
I stared at the email header in the list and it stared back at me. I thought of Achievement Points and publishing glory, and then ran away for ten minutes to do something else!
When I came back, it was still there, waiting for me. "It's going to be No", I said to myself. But it could be a Yes! said a tiny voice at the back of my head. "It's not going to be Yes," I responded, clicking my mouse.
It wasn't yes.
But equally, it wasn't no, either.
Instead, I had some honest-to-goodness editorial feedback. Only a page and a half (probably a mere pittance compared to what commissioned authors receive) but still a generous act by a busy professional. And look - my book doesn't totally suck after all!
I'm a great believer in reading feedback once and then putting it away for a day or so, because I know the next steps will come in their own time. If I decide to follow the suggestions it will probably require a complete rewrite, and I'll need to consider whether that will fit with my own vision of the novel. But damn it if I'm not suddenly excited about the book again and ready to try something new.
I think back to two years ago, the last time I received detailed feedback on a full manuscript. That time, it was six pages of intensely negative criticism that almost made me throw in the towel. But somehow, I didn't, and I feel like I've arrived at a much better place because of it. Because, this kind of editorial feedback, this back and forth, is really at the core of what we are trying to achieve as authors when we pursue publication.
Publication, fame and fortune might be the ultimate goal, but writing and rewriting is the game we play to get there. And it seems like I might finally be learning to enjoy that.